Our school has been given a grant to open up on Saturdays for students who are struggling a little with virtual learning.
We have had 6 Saturday sessions, and I worked the last three in May. It has been awesome being able to spend more time with kids one on one. I have had 5 or so students in my group and it has been wonderful watching their missing assignments go away, and seeing their faces as they catch up on their work!
Students were given half of the time to work on missing assignments, while the other half was used for doing a STEAM activity! Our first week we made roller coasters, unfortunately I did not get any pictures of that project. But we did do a mini painting party and Gyotaku Japanese fish printing on teach shirts!
The mini painting party taught students how to mix colors, use paint and a brush as well as express their interests!
The students were hesitant at first, as most are when they do not have a lot of experience painting. But I was proud that they stick in there and were actually super happy with their final paintings! They all took them home!
The last week we did fish printing which was a lot of fun as well. Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. We used acrylic paint on t-shirts!
March 13th marks one year since we stopped teaching from our classrooms, and stepped into the virtual world.
One year ago I was excited and eager to head to Minneapolis for the NAEA conference. My students were beginning some amazing personal projects in class. The green club had just been approved to go on a canoeing field trip. There were so many beautiful things about to take place!
On March 12th, I was preparing my students and myself for the unknown. The only advice I could give them was to take time to breathe and do things they love to keep them relaxed. To go with the flow. They had been prepared in other ways throughout the year, by teaching them to have a growth mindset.
Teaching a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is so vital during these times. Being able to experience challenges and perceived setbacks in a healthy way, learning and growing no matter what.
Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Having awareness and understanding of self, through an open mindset, creates huge opportunities for growth.
2020 was a hear of growth and transformation. Allowing the things no longer serving our goals to be washed away, making room for a bright new dawn. A new era of living, experiencing, connecting, and sharing. A new era of finance and self sovereignty. Taking back our power to create a life we are worthy of living, to know our worth.
As I sit here, remembering how it used to be… I am filled with gratitude and excitement for this new year. I am excited to see my students in person starting next week. Excited to see their faces light up when they are able to create something they never thought possible. Looking forward to watching them problem solve and express themselves!
This new year has so much to offer. If we step into it with gratitude and love, all the riches that are divinely ours will come to us in perfect ways.
We are in week 4 of online e-learning through Schoology, using Google Meets for virtual meetings.
First I have to say how grateful I am to work for Baltimore County, and to work with such amazing educators. The BCPS visual arts office enlisted the help of my department chair and other art educators to create amazing lessons for our students. We are so fortunate.
The past 4 weeks have been a roller coaster.
As a teacher I have to keep up with my 300 students, who post 3 times a week, grading and giving feedback. It is a lot of desk work, a lot of time spent at the computer.
I miss being in my classroom. I miss interacting with my students face to face. I miss the conversations we have, and seeing them light up when they come up with an idea for their project, or when they figure out something and are proud of themselves!
Art is such a hands on interactive activity! I am learning to navigate the balance between the digital and the material experiences. But let me just say again, I really miss my students.
I get to do virtual meetings with them once a week, every other week for 30 mins. It is challenging to build relationships with 20+ students via a Google Meet in a half an hour. So far I have met with my A day kids twice, and my B day kids once. During our meetings, we have shared something interesting about what we’ve done since we’ve been quarantined, which took all 30 mins!
When my students tell me what they’ve been doing with their time, the majority of them say they are spending A LOT of time doing homework. They have expressed a huge amount of stress from the amount of focus it takes for them to get all of their school work done. Aside from the workload, students have also mentioned they are doing a lot more physical activity then before the quarantine! So that’s a positive!!
Teachers are not to use the meeting time to do new learning or direct instruction. We are to be building relationships and allowing time for students to check in. Part of me wishes I had more time with them so we could do a fun art project! There are a lot of layers to this though…not all kids are in the meetings, not all kids have materials to create an art project with and we have a limited about of time.
Also most of my students do not want to turn their cameras on!! I love seeing my students, so I ask them to please turn their cameras on so I can see them! It’s not the same teaching to a bunch of uppercase letters in colored circles!
I have also been leading google meets for my green club kids!! We have been learning about different edible plants and watching the fruit trees grow!
Aside from teaching my students, I am also assisting my own children in their school work. Doing both is challenging, but we are making it work!
Luckily my kids school has streamlined things on google classroom and my children are starting to really get the hang of everything! We have meltdowns every now and then… but it’s a lot more manageable then the first week!
Overall… we are doing it. We are handling it, we are learning and growing.
Just a reminder that is not simply electronic learning, this is emergency learning.
Be kind, be compassionate, be easy on one another…
Between doing my own work, and getting Landyn and Element to do their work…. whoa. Element was more interested in the magic she found from dangling her pen from a strand of hair, then creating a word math problem. We took a few breaks, made rice crispy treats! Their work is to complete online packets, sent by their teachers through Google classroom. They go to school in SYCSD in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to see the different between the two school systems approaches. I had to stop and take some deep breaths a few times.
Overall, the professional development BCPS created for us was easy enough. There were a few things I had to figure out on my own that could’ve been described better, however it wasn’t that difficult just a little time consuming.
The county has created a streamlined remote learning template for all BCPS teachers to use on their class pages. We were asked to put all of our previous materials in a folder labeled “Previous Q1 Q2 Q3”, and then create a few new pages and folders to reflect the BCPS default layout. Once those folders and pages were created in one class, I was able to easily copy each of them to my 9 other courses. There’s a weird glitch in Schoology when I try to copy folders to all of my other courses at once, some of the courses don’t receive the folder so I have to go in and copy it again individually.
All of my classes have been set up to the default template, and I am awaiting our art teacher meeting on Wednesday so I can see what lessons we have available to upload. The Visual Arts office and a team of awesome art educators have created lessons for us to use, so if we do not have the ability to create our own we do not have to. What’s nice is that we have the ability to alter or create our own if we want to!
I just finished setting up and creating my first Google Meet so that I can meet with my students!! I am so excited to see them, I’m going to send out an email to all of them to see if they want to meet up to say hi!!
I have to say this morning was a lot smoother than yesterday.
At 1pm today we had our first virtual faculty meeting! We used Microsoft teams. It was a good meeting, learned a lot about the expectations we have as teachers…
Upload 2 mini-lessons by 8am on Monday morning, with a due date set for that Friday by midnight. Each lesson should be about 20-25 mins in length,
Have a live virtual meetup for 30 mins with each class… I will only be teaching my students on Thursday and Friday mornings between 9-11:30.
Maintain 2 hrs per day of office hours for student and parent questions and concerns.
Provide students with feedback at least once a week.
This all feels a little better now that I know the expectations!
Wow so much has happened in a week….yet so little at the same time!
This time last week I was writing about how it felt after 3 days of being off of work.
I feel different than I did last week, that’s for sure. Still a little uneasy, however I feel like this has strengthened my center so I might be more balanced in all things.
So we found out on Wednesday that all Maryland schools will be closed until April 24th. We will find out more about how we are going to implement online learning, sometime next week. I am excited about this new adventure and the opportunity to flip my classroom and lead the way into this digital age! I’ve messaged my students to ask them what type of things they would like to learn about so I can start making some videos. Friday we had our first Zoom faculty meet up! It was nice seeing everyone’s faces!
It’s almost time to get out of my comfy clothes!
Tomorrow starts a week of online professional development about how e-learning will go with my students. Anxious to find out what I am going to have to do so I can start preparing!
I have been messaging my students on Schoology for the past two weeks. A few students have emailed me and sent pictures of their artwork! Check some out below:
The first 3 days off of work because of the coronavirus came and went.
On Sunday I thought about how I would handle the next day. Was I going to get up, business as usual… or was I going to take the well needed rest.
I decided to take it one day at a time. So on Monday, I woke up without my alarm, around 6:30 am. I decided that it was the perfect day for me to start with yoga. I love being awake before everyone else, and watching my Sara Beth yoga on youtube! I really enjoy her flow.
After yoga, I had some coffee and read a book. It was nice to be able to sit still and quiet for a little while. However there has been this underlying unease… a type of energy that is constantly on… buzzing underneath it all.
When my kids woke up we did school work, and made art!
Two weeks off of work, for social distancing purposes. So I stayed in the house, finished reading the Alchemist, and am working on finishing Mitakuya Oyasin. I am also working on Braiding Sweetgrass.
I worked on a few paintings, did printmaking with my daughter, and cleaned and organized the house.
We also went for a run on the trail, and a hike in the woods.
The grocery stores have been hit or miss. In Pennsylvania the Giant wasn’t too bad… but when I went down to Maryland and their Giant was empty! It’s very interesting to hear how different areas have different reactions to the quarantine.
I have been taking it one moment at a time, trying not to over schedule anything, but also not just sitting around doing nothing. Though sometimes I catch myself sitting and staring. Thinking about what’s going on with the world!
What if we don’t go back to school in 2 weeks? There are rumors of more quarantine, of longer time off of school, if not the rest of the school year… there is so much to process.
Today I emailed all of my students… letting them know they can message me any time. I miss them. I can’t imagine not going back to school for the rest of the year!
In March I attended the National Art Education Association convention in Boston. I visited and fell in love with two new museums, the Isabella Gardner Museum and MFA. I learned the importance of networking and sharing who I am with others and found my place with the Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education.
The spring was busy with my student teacher from Towson, who accepted a job this year! We also had our schools annual Arts in Action event!
Summer came and my intuitive henna took off. Sharing my gifts with many, some even had their designs become a permanent part of their lives.
I painted “en plein air,” at Cromwell Valley park with BCPS teachers. It was such an awesome experience, and I am so looking forward to it again this coming summer.
I also attended an AVID one day intensive training, where I learned a lot about different ways to teach students, that I have been using this year! I am excited to say that I was asked to attend the week long training this summer 2020.
Working for St. Paul’s summer camp this year was a new experience… all camps combined, in a new location. It was a wonderful summer with amazing coworkers and campers! Visiting Irvine Nature Center and the Senator Theater were some of my highlights!
Then August came… with a bang. Breaking my wrist 2 weeks before school started for the new year. This was by far one of the most testing time for me. Testing my faith and trust that I have the power within to heal and come back stronger than before. Testing my sense of self…. am I my right hand? As an artist I began asking myself, does my identity come from my hands? Can I create even if my hands don’ work the same as they always have? This was a powerful time for a deep dive within.
I healed faster than the doctors have seen from a 30 year old. The whole process from break to out of cast took 6 weeks, and the doctor was so surprised at the amount of healing that occurred. My mobility was about 90% back to normal! I attribute my healing to my mindset, words and movement. I constantly used healing words over broken words. I visualized my wrist healing and strengthening. I stretched and stretched, and slowly got back into yoga, and stretched and stretched.
My 12th year of teaching began and I became an adjunct professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, teaching Methods in Secondary Art Education. This was a huge milestone for me and my own self awareness. I love sharing my passion for teaching and art, especially with other passionate teachers. It was such a blessing to teach this course.
The workload for 2019 was intense, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So much growth. Like a seedling, breaking through the concrete. Learning when to rest and when to reach. Realizing the activeness of balance. Balance in work, life, love, relationships, creating and resting. The balance of self care and self growth.
2019 was an abundant, and it was beautiful to watch the balance unfold.
Thank you to everyone who shared in this past year with me. I am forever grateful for you. <3 Excited and open to receiving all that this new year has in store.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID is a nonprofit created in San Diego by an English teacher named Mary Catherine Swanson.
Mary noticed that teachers at Clairemont High School had low expectations for students bused in from disadvantaged areas of San Diego, which caused a belief that these students could not succeed. Swanson believed if students were willing to work hard she could teach them the skills needed to be college-ready.
She discovered that a teacher’s job was to provide the missing background pieces while quickly accelerating the rigor of the coursework in a manner that was supportive, encouraging, and interesting to the student.
AVID was created and implemented in the 1980’s and has been changing lives by helping schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach.
When schools partner with AVID, they receive professional development, a suite of resources, and ongoing support to ensure a lasting impact that maximizes their return on investment. AVID is not “one more thing to do”—our work with schools aligns with their goals to accelerate and enhance the work that is already happening.
On July 6th, 2019 I attended my first day session at the AVID Summer Institute in Philadelphia. Baltimore County Public Schools sent any educator who wished to attend the one day workshop, being that we had a star student as the guest speaker!
Elijah Edwards, from Pikesville High School, spoke about his journey and how AVID became a saving grace for him, helping him to finally walk proudly in his own shoes to pursue his passions in life.
“Elijah Edwards will be a first-generation college student. He has been an AVID scholar for all four years of high school, and during that time, he has taken seven Advanced Placement classes. He was a four-year wrestler, AVID Ambassador, and AVID Class Representative. He will attend Jacksonville University in the fall of 2019 with an $80,000 Presidential Scholarship. At Jacksonville, he plans to study pre-medicine in hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist.”
At the beginning of the day we attended two PLW’s (professional learning workshops), Buy-in toBeliefand WICOR Strategies.
I truly feel this program will bring about change to the climate of our school. AVID builds relationships. Through teaching critical thinking skills and teamwork, students develop relationships that help them succeed way into the future. Its already bringing our faculty together.